MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The cuts are coming, and officers are leaving.
“I’m having to play chess here quite a bit. Moving pieces and personnel around trying to find the right fit.”
Memphis Police Director Tony Armstrong says the city lost one of its best homicide detectives to another city because Memphis is cutting benefits. Armstrong called that one example of what he expects to start seeing.
“Lots of institutional knowledge, a lot of personal knowledge about the day to day operations of homicide.”
You’ll hear the same from the Fire Department. The pay cuts and budget cuts are affecting more than just morale, they’re also impacting actual service on the streets, forcing brownouts and keeping trucks off the street.
Next year the fire department will need to fill 130 spots. No recruit class can compensate that in one year.
The police department hopes to fill at least 90 vacant spots.
Armstrong said, “We won’t actually realize any gains from that, because of what we are projected to lose in the next year.”
Armstrong says the cuts to their benefits do not help morale, but will not keep the officers from doing their job. He hopes council members change their minds.
“One thing we know is prayer works. And there is a process. Anything that has been done can be undone.”